Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Push Notifications, Contact Sync

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It seems like forever ago that Facebook promised push notification support in version 3.1 of its incredibly popular iPhone app (iTunes link). Now it has arrived, just in time to usher in 2010. 3.1 brings the promised push notifications, and also the ability to sync your Facebook contacts with your iPhone’s Address Book for a more seamless communication experience.

Right away upon opening the app, you’ll be asked if you want to enable push notifications, and you’ll also encounter a dialog box asking you about contact syncing. Turning syncing on will automatically add links to the Facebook profiles of all the people it finds in your address book, and you can also choose to replace the photos for those contacts with their Facebook profile pictures.

As for the push notifications, they apply whenever someone sends you a new message, or whenever you receive a new wall post, friend request, friend confirmation, photo tag, event invitations and updates, and comments. If that seems like a lot, you can go ahead and selectively disable any options you don’t want to receive a push notification about. I’m actually very happy with the implementation. It means I can disable email updates for most of those things. Here’s what it looks like when you receive a message. Not too much info, but it gets the job done.

Contact syncing seems to be a little hiccupy at the moment, but that might only be because I’m also using MobileMe to sync my address book across all computers. It does appear to be working very slowly despite some error messages, though, but I find that the “fb://” format links don’t open anything on the Mac. Probably because the Facebook app developers didn’t count on people who have a desktop syncing system implemented. They automatically launch the FB app on the iPhone, though.

What do you think? Well done, or were you looking for more from Facebook push?

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